Sunday, November 15, 2009

PM Netanyahu: We would only accept France as a mediator in talks with Syria

(JPOST).In a first response to Syria's announcement that it was prepared to resume indirect negotiations with Israel mediated by Turkey, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel would be willing to accept France as a mediator in peace negotiations with Syria.

"If France would want to serve as a mediator, we would be willing," Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu's statement came after Syrian President Bashar Assad on Friday called for talks to resume with Turkey as a mediator.

The prime minister, however, said Jerusalem did not believe Ankara was objective enough to mediate the talks.

"Israel is prepared to hold negotiations without precondition with the Syrians. I prefer direct talks, but if [they are] with a mediator then it must be fair. The Turkish prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] has not strengthened his image as an objective, fair mediator," said Netanyahu.